Timely Ambulance Service?

By Stephanie Parkinson

November 28, 2012 Updated Nov 28, 2012 at 7:24 PM EDT

St. Joseph Township, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - The St. Joseph Township Fire Department is fighting to stay in business a year after its ambulance service was shut down. But is the current EMS replacement system working?

Residents in the unincorporated area of the township, the sections that have not been annexed into the city, are treated a bit differently because of where they are geographically.

Tuesday morning there was a call for help after someone was found unconscious in the Leo Crossing area, northeast of the city, and the ambulance dispatched was in the Covington area in southwest Fort Wayne. Due to the time frame, Grabill's fire department took that patient to the hospital.

Right now, TRAA, Three Rivers Ambulance, is contracted to the unincorporated area of St. Joseph Township. That happened last year when the trustee dissolved his ambulance service. But the township trustee opted not to pay TRAA to station an ambulance in the area. In turn, TRAA is not held to certain response times.

However, the executive director of the ambulance service says when it comes to life threatening calls he still feels those residents are getting medical help in a timely manner.

"When we took this job on we felt like we could do it and we felt the response times were showing yeah we can still provide the coverage and it is reasonable coverage for what the township requested and what they're paying for," said Gary Booher, TRAA executive Director.

St. Joseph Township’s fire department still has trained EMS personnel that can help at the scene while they wait for an ambulance but they no longer have the ambulances to transport patients.

Meanwhile, the fire department may be next. The township trustee has tried for more than a year to outsource fire protection, but hasn't been able to.

As of now, there is no contract in place for fire protection for next year so there are still unanswered questions from the trustee on how the community will get their fire protection.

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